Note: In the interest of providing voter information and fair election coverage, The Sentinel has given all five Citrus Heights City Council candidates an equal opportunity to submit 100-word written statements on a variety of local issues. Al Fox’s word-for-word responses can be found below.
Al Fox, 73, is currently serving as a council member after being appointed in 2017 to fill a vacancy left by the late Councilman Mel Turner, who died last year. He has lived in Citrus Heights for 18 years and has been endorsed by Supervisor Sue Frost, Sheriff Scott Jones, and Connie Turner, who was the wife of Councilman Turner. (Click to read full candidate profile)
One of the City’s three-year strategic planning goals is to enhance and expand public safety. What specifically would you advocate doing to accomplish this goal?
“Public safety is more that just police services. I will strive to continually support our police department, to ensure they have the most current and technically advanced equipment available to meet their needs.
“Public safety is also about meeting the needs of the community for housing, transportation, natural disaster preparedness and emergency services. Not planning and designing our infrastructure, training our departments, and staff to meet these needs is not an option but rather a necessity.”
Homelessness continues to be ranked among the top issues faced by businesses and residents in Citrus Heights. What additional actions do you believe should be taken to address this, and what role do you see private organizations playing?
“Public private partnerships have been a tremendous success in addressing homelessness throughout California… Our city has a robust Navigator program that is making significant progress. Unfortunately, the number of homeless individuals continues to grow for a variety of reasons.
“I believe continuing our current programs and investing in those services that provide affordable housing, medical, psychological and social services best fit our communities needs. I support the efforts of our staff and police personnel who continually seek to improve our efforts in serving these individuals and protecting the property, clients and staff of our businesses, and the safety of our homes.” (Shortened for length beyond 100-word limit)
In August, the City Council voted 4-1 to pursue a $500,000 mandatory inspection program for thousands of rental homes/apartments in Citrus Heights. Do you believe the council made the right decision?
“Many jurisdictions have successful rental housing inspection programs for their older apartment and single-family homes. Inspection programs will identify the aging rental housing inventories that are not maintained in structurally safe condition. These properties endanger the lives, health and safety of occupants and if left unresolved can have tremendous negative impact upon the values of the surrounding properties.
“A properly administered inspection program can serve as a safeguard for owners and occupants, establish baseline reportable deficiencies and protect property owners from unwarranted claims. Courts have also held recently that local jurisdictions can be held liable for failure to provide protection of residents in unsafe housing environs.” (Shortened for length beyond 100-word limit)
In four years, Citrus Heights will finally begin receiving its share of property taxes (estimated over $5 million/yr), due to a 25-year “revenue neutrality” agreement with the county as a condition of incorporation coming to a close. How do you think that money would be best allocated, and why?
“The receipt of property tax income when added to the retail sales tax revenue will allow the city to better pursue our long-term streets and roads goals; provide much need matching funds to qualify for federal grant programs and infrastructure repairs. I will not support non frugal spending proposals that would include salary increases, unnecessary equipment purchases or long tern expenditure plans that would prevent us from replenishing our savings and remaining current on unfunded retirement liability payments.”
Proposition 6 seeks to repeal SB 1, which increased gas taxes and vehicle licensing fees to help cover transportation-related projects. How will you vote on Prop 6 and what option(s) for road maintenance in Citrus Heights will you advocate for if SB 1 funding goes away?
“SB-1 gas tax income has benefited our city and allowed us to continue with road improvement efforts. However, I do not support SB 1 as implemented by the legislature and governor.
“The fuel tax increases have negatively impacted California low income families and seniors. California tax and spend mentality has overspent previous gas tax monies, moved funds to non-transportation items and refused to return the funds to transportation. I support the more moderate legislators who are seeking to reverse the negative impact of prior legislation and re-allocate existing road tax revenues to local jurisdictions.”
Proposition 10 seeks to allow local governments to enact rent control on any type of rental housing. If Prop 10 passes, would you be in favor of implementing rent control in Citrus Heights?
“I do not support rent control beyond the scope already provided in the law Prop 10 wants to overturn. Rent control has never succeeded as intended, has created poverty pockets within communities and devalued the larger real estate market.
“The cost of building new more modern multi family units will cost more than rental rates will support. Rent control laws also require new government bureaucracies to oversee and regulate.”
Nearby cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Davis have voted to discontinue their redlight camera programs in recent years. If elected to the council, would you vote to renew the City’s contract with Redflex and continue redlight cameras in Citrus Heights?
“I support the red-light camera program we have in our city. Available statistics support the decrease in accidents and other incidents at those intersections where cameras are utilized. They also provide valuable investigative evidence in vehicle accidents investigations.”
Schools in Citrus Heights have long been criticized as under-performing. Although the San Juan Unified School Board is ultimately tasked with governing local schools, what role (if any) do you believe the City Council can play in improving education in Citrus Heights?
“Our council committee and city staff is on the right course in working with the district executives and Board to improve education services to our community. We must have a partnership that will invest in improvement of student learning outcomes.
“Together we are redirecting portions of the educational focus on career technical education for those students who will not attend college but need strong employability skills to meet the demands of our emerging economy. We must include technical and hands on training programs that utilize the curriculum and instructors from all the trade groups and specialties to give students the needed skill sets.” (Shortened for length beyond 100-word limit)
Citrus Heights has striven to be a business-friendly city ever since its incorporation in 1997. What more do you believe could be done to attract new businesses and help existing businesses thrive in Citrus Heights?
“As a city we must identify the changing dynamics of our business communities in an ever-increasing on-line business climate… Development discussions with our current business and property owners with a focus on multi-use facilities is imperative.
“When I walk our neighborhoods and talk with our residents I hear one constant theme; ‘the need for a family friendly entertainment area within the retail and restaurant developments that promote activities such as the envisioned in the pop-up stadium proposal, former 4th of July fireworks and other holiday events.’ The key is to find the right combination to meet those expectations.” (Shortened for length beyond 100-word limit)
Want to see where the other four candidates stand on local issues? Click here